Managing and responding to behaviours in a learning environment
SUMMARISE A RANGE OF BEHAVIOURS THAT MAY OCCUR IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
???The expression often used is that the learners in post-compulsory education and training ???are there because they want to be there??™. This is a reasonable assumption to make, of course, since we are talking here about a sector which is ,post compulsory??™. No-one is forced to be there. Therefore every learner enrolled at the college will be there out of choice. Won??™t they??? Wallace:(2010:4)
The way that learners behave in the learning environment varies a great deal, from being well behaved, to emotional and uncontrollable behaviour. (Find survey of misbehaviour in Post 16+)
Most learners do not realise or know they are behaving inappropriately. Some of the signs are the learners having a lack of organisation, disrupting others, violent behaviour and lack of work. Not all learners behaviour inappropriately signs of a good learner are they are organised, willing to learn, enthusiastic and a good role model for the other learners. The learners will the bad behaviour can be turned into good learners with the teacher and how they deal with them, good clear discipline.
???Most pupils want to learn and will work for the teachers who are in interesting, interested in them, knowledgeable, consistent, fair and have a sense of humour. It is also true that some pupils will pose problems whatever the circumstances and however outstanding the teacher. (Howe, 1993 cited in Nathan 1997:99)
Some learners start off enjoying the course and progressing at the correct level then something happens and they change. This can be linked with emotional behaviour, where they start to react emotionally to situations. Some of the signs that I have come across are:
??? Noticeable changes in the quality of their work
??? Significant change in mood
??? Inappropriate outbursts
??? Student appears to show signs of poor hygiene
??? Suspected drug or alcohol abuse
Bad or challenging behaviour can often be attributed to lack of motivation. But why should such lack of motivation and challenging behaviour be so intrusive whilst teaching as the learner has chosen to be on the course
Review a range of factors that may underlie different behaviours in the learning environment
There are a range of different factors that may underlie in the different behaviours with in the learning environment for instance a learner??™s social background, previous learning experiences, role models within their life, how the teacher teaches and causes outside the teachers control.
The Taunton Report of 1868 on Education gives a clear indication of how educational needs were being ranked according to social class. The report describes three categories of parents;
??? Those who wish their children to be educated up to the age of 18 and beyond
??? Those who wish their children to be educated up to the age of 16
??? Those who wish their children to be educated up to the age of 14.
(Maclure 1986:95 cited in Wallace:2003:10)
Has the thinking of these parents in different social classes really changed form 1868. We could say that really things have stayed the same and parents are still of the same thinking. But I feel we have choice now and it does not matter what social background we come from, we all have the ability to make our dreams come true. Some of the learners role models in their lives may have gone on to University and therefore feeling pressured into following the footsteps and achieving a degree, or they could have a role model who did not achieve their dreams and are being pushed into course that they don??™t really want to do or they are scared of changing their social background and making something of themselves due be ridiculed for wanting something more from life.
In 1954 Abraham Maslow investigated the motivation of workers and this can be applied to learners, in order for a learner to achieve their goals and aspirations, they need to go through a development of basic needs, following Maslow??™s Hierarchy of Needs.
If we look at Maslow??™s Hierarchy of Needs, he has noted:
??? Physical comfort
??? Safety and shelter
??? Love and belonging
??? Self-actualisation (Wilson;2009:93)
Maslow investigated this in 1954 are these needs still applicable to 2010 peoples needs are the same but we want more all and in today??™s society everyone wants to be loved and have a sense of belonging within their peers groups if these needs are not met they then infringe on the learners self-esteem and self-actualisation. In the modern world of today we have to be very vigilant that all learners??™ needs are met and if they are not we have to be able to find the available resource to help them.
Analyse the impact of different behaviours on the learning environment
I have just finished teaching a group of learners all with very different behaviours and this has had a huge impact on the teaching and learning during their program, some of the factors that I have come across are:
??? Time of the day the lesson is
??? Before or after a college holiday
??? Family or personal problems
??? If they are interested or involved in the lesson
??? The way in which staff respond to them
??? Social background
??? Copying peers
??? Change to the day eg, room, staff
Some of the issues listed are dealt with quite quickly and with no disruption, the problems arise when the situations are not dealt with or signposted to the relevant support. Referring back to Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, ???as human beings are more basic needs, such as the need for comfort or for safety must be met before we can turn out attention to satisfying our higher order needs (Wallace 2005:57,58)
According to Watson (cited in Wilson;2009:352) he challenged Freud??™s opinions and produced further work associated with ???classical conditioning??™ which stated that people are not born with instincts and will react in a particular way to something through reflex actions. Things that don??™t work will not be repeated but successful actions will be. He gave rise to the concept of ???trial and error??™: those human reactions are the result of experiences.
Do humans learn from ???trial and error??™ yes we do but we don??™t like the ???error??™ part as from previous learning experiences we could of been humiliated, feel as we had let ourselves or others down. But as humans when we look back at the experience and realise that some of the errors have helped us to achieve and understand.
Summarise legislation relevant to managing behaviour in the learning environment and review organisational policies relevant to managing behaviour in the learning environment
Not all teaching organisations are the same they differ; they also vary in the extent of the disruptive behaviour that has an impact on the teaching/learning.
The model below is known as the ???5-W Schema??™.
??? What type of behaviour
??? Who is involved
??? Why does the organisation experience disruptive behaviour
??? When does the disruption occur
??? Where does the disruption take place
The 5-W Schema is useful in that it provides a starting point. Behaviour can be improved by such basic responses as timetabled changes, room allocation, etc. (Ain??™t Misbehavin:1998).
This is an excellent model of how to control behaviour. Behaviour management is a whole institution approach. There are three main key players the learners, the teachers and managers. The learners need to understand how the system works the teachers need to be trained and understand the process and the managers need to make sure that the teachers have been trained.
???Success breeds success, as a result, the effects of success and reinforcement are much greater than many teachers realise??™. (Petty 2004:46)
The virtuous circle will give the learner self-belief they will believe that they can do something, motivation, success and reinforcement will occur giving the learner approval from peers, self praise and praise??™
The vicious and virtuous circle is the engine that drives all learning. Even if the other motivators are working flat out, failure to get this engine going will mean that the learner is going nowhere. However, engines can work in reverse, producing a vicious circle, so the learner lacks self-belief, no motivation, they have experienced failure and they criticise themselves and they look on any feedback as negative comments. Alot of learners will fall into the vicious circle because there has been an absence of praise and reinforcement. For the tutor to change the vicious to a virtuous cycle for the learner there are a few key points to follow and help us to change the learner.
??? Making sure the learners know what they are expected to do and how to do it and reassuring them that there is help available when they need it.
??? Some tasks will be easier for the learner to achieve, and they will succeed in them, but other tasks will stretch the learner.
??? Lots of praise and other forms of recognition for any success in learning. This must be done as soon as possible after the activity.
By using these three points they will increase the motivation of the learner which will then give the learner success and self-belief.
Review organisation policies relevant to managing behaviour in the learning environment identifying areas for improvement
Within my organisation of City College Plymouth there are many policies which are set up within the organisation to deal with behaviour. At the start of the learners programme they are given a college charter which becomes the learners own responsibility they are required to read this at their own leisure. It states and lays out all the college requirements and policies and what the college expects from them from the time they start at the college during their programme of study up to the time when they complete or finish the programme. These policies are also available on the college web site for all learners to access whenever they require.
The policies and requirements are discussed, decided and set out by various people from the college governors to senior management team and any other parties that are relevant. All policies are reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Also when the learners start their learning programme within the hairdressing department we also give them a trade charter which states what is expected of them and the way in which we as a department expect them to behave and act. We go through this charter with them and then they are expected to sign to say that they are in agreement to follow this charter.
Within tutor groups at eh start of the year we also get the learners within their groups to make and set ground rules. These rules are made up by the learners themselves as a group. The tutor is then responsible for typing them up and making sure that each learner has a copy to ensure that they are followed and reinforced if required to any members of the group who forgets about them. This is a very useful tool for all teachers as you can easily say ???ground rules??™ if any members of the group are misbehaving.
I personally feel that the policies are set out well, but feel that they may need to be followed better and reinforced more. I have been lucky enough that during my time at the college I have not come across any really serious or dangerous behaviour that may have warranted these policies being used.
Within my department I have witnessed and experienced first hand unacceptable and disruptive behaviour that has been dealt with by the relevant tutor, but this did not stop the behaviour. The tutor referred the matter to their line manager to deal with and I do not feel that this was dealt with correctly. The student still persisted with the bad behaviour and carried on in the same manner, the student just made a joke out of the whole thing. I feel that there needs to be a more structured department system of dealing with this type of behaviour so that learners can see results, this will hopefully stop other learners from messing around and acting the ???class clown??™ and following in the footsteps of others. If this happened the learners experience would be a successful and happy one.
The government has outlined a number of initiatives such as:
??? E ??“ learning strategy
??? 14-19 diplomas
??? Every Child Matters
Green paper ??“ Every Child Matters which sets out the governments proposals for reforming the delivery of services for children and young people. It builds existing measures to ensure that we protect children at risk of harm and neglect from negative outcomes and support all children to develop their full potential. (dcfs.gov)
There is also quite a lot of legislation that is also related which includes the following:
??? Sex Discrimination Act
??? Race Relations Act
??? Disability Discrimination Act
??? Human Rights Act
??? Health & Safety Act
All these Acts should be followed by all individuals and should be continually reinforced. It is the responsibility of all individuals to ensure that they behave and work in the correct manner to avoid any unacceptable behaviour towards other human beings, regardless of their age, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. This legislation should be taught and delivered during any programme of study, so that all learners are aware and understands fully their own duties and responsibilities under these Acts.
Review ways of managing behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment
Every individual has an equal right to undertake everyday duties/tasks and any sort of training of job regardless of who or what they are and this should be done in an enjoyable and safe environment and should not have to encounter any unreasonable or unacceptable behaviour towards them.
Common behaviour management strategies:
??? Give informal warnings
??? Plan more group work, so that they get a chance to talk
??? Allocate ten minutes at the start of the session to have a chat
??? Ask them to stop talking
??? Refuse to sign their EMA forms
??? Stop talking and stare at the learners involved
??? Direct some of the questions at the noisy ones to try and draw them in
??? Draw up some individual, achievable goals with them. (Wallace 2005:92)
Use strategies for managing behaviours that disrupt an effective learning environment
Positive behaviour should be encouraged, so that during each session there should be lots of medals and missions for every learner in the group. It??™s important to try and encourage those learners that do not behave positively as otherwise you may discourage them and make them worse than what they are. If you can encourage these learners, you may in the end get them on your side and also get respect from them.
Try and give every student some reinforcement, put the students who are a pain into ???intensive care??™ ??“ not by beating them up!
The teacher??™s intensive care, which means recognising their effort and achievement, talking with them in a friendly manner. Do this for a month, however difficult you find it (and you will find it difficult!), and see the results. (Petty 2004:72)
Use strategies for encouraging behaviours that contribute to an effective learning environment
Within the college we have a few incentives that are available for all the learners. Firstly we have the ???student of the term??™, this allows the course team and course tutors to nominate any learners that they think have excelled or done exceptionally well during the term. These names then get put forward to the head of faculty who chooses the overall one. The student then receives a gift. This is such a fantastic idea but it not publicised enough amongst the students, it has now been put in the student magazine but I feel that the department needs to have an area on the notice board for ???student of the term??™. This would then give the student reinforcement of their achievement and also to encourage other learners.
The second incentive being the annual college prize giving event which is held at the college. This requires the course team to put forward names of students who have also excelled, done exceptionally well or who may have had the longest journey to get to where they are now. The best one is selected then the learners and their families are invited to receive their prize at the awards ceremony presentation evening.
Review own approaches, strengths and development needs in relation to managing different behaviours in the learning environment
I have been teaching for 7 years now and I am constantly learning all the time no two learners are ever the same. I have been working with two groups this year and they were two totally different groups. One group I enjoyed teaching and they maintained good professional behaviour throughout the majority of the course. There were two learners within this group who were older than the rest of the group and they tended to be negative about the course and their progress. I maintained a very up beat approach to their teaching and was always positive throughout the duration of the course it became apparent that there was nothing wrong with the course just that they lacked confidence, within themselves and with their negative approach it was starting to affect the group. It??™s very hard to teach adult learners that are negative because this is years of believing that they can??™t do something. Over the duration of the year we offered both learners the opportunity to work within the college spa only one leaner took up the offer and her attitude has changed she is more confident and happy. The other learner, has seen the change and has now started to work at her salon placement an extra day and now she is so much more motivated. I am pleased that I kept going with positive comments and encouragements as I could quite easily lost these learners and it would have been because I didn??™t help them from the vicious cycle to the virtuous cycle.
Discuss ways to adapt and improve own practise in relation to managing different behaviours in the learning environment
During my last year of teaching my full time group had a vast range of behaviour problems some of them were easy to deal with but others where a lot harder to tackle, this is one area that I need to improve on. I have attended Bradley Lightbody courses which I have found invaluable and I have been on the behaviour management courses which have been fantastic. However I feel that we are lacking in support from middle management sometimes they are too afraid to stand up and punish these learners as of the repercussions that can occur either from higher management, parents, peers or even the learner. We need to have clear precise guidelines that all staff adhere too. I have been reading various books on how to increase motivation to dealing with people. It has made me think not only about other peoples behaviour but my own too.
Ain??™t Misbehaving (1998) Further Education Development Agency
Petty,G(2004), Teaching today, 3rd Edition, Nelson Thornes, Cheltenham
Wallace, S (2003), Managing behaviour in the lifelong learning sector, Learning Matters, Exeter
Wallace,S (2005),Managing behaviour and motivating students in further education ,Learning Matters, Exeter
Wilson,L (2009), Practical teaching a guide to PTLLS & DTLLS, Melody Dawes, Cengage Learning, Hampshire